Sunday, January 29, 2012

Parker-Compatible Gel Ink Refills - Water Tests

In an attempt to find a waterproof gel ink pen, as well as Parker-compatible gel refills that are waterproof. I dug out all my gel ink pens and refills and did a quick test. The refills tested here are universal and are compatible with many pens (in my case, they were for my Retro 51). Update** Sorry. This may have been unclear - the pens tested here are not necessarily Parker-compatible (without some hacking), I just added them in to test and compare general gel ink water resistance.
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Left

  • Uni-ball Vision RT - Waterproof.
  • Zebra Sarasa SE 07 - Zebra gel ink pens are water-based ink so they're not supposed to be waterproof, but these look pretty good - although some color bleeds, the words stay.
  • Zebra Sarasa 07 - Waterproof (same as Zebra Sarasa SE 07).
  • Zebra Sarasa Clip 07 - Waterproof (same as Zebra Sarasa SE 07).
  • Uni-ball Signo 207 Ultra Micro - Waterproof.
  • Zebra Surari 07 - Waterproof.
  • Uni-ball Signo 207 - Water resistant - some color washes and because it’s so light already, it looks like it’s washing away - but it’s not! 
  • Pilot G-2 07 - Pilot says this is waterproof so what we see here is just some ink bleeding. 
  • Pentel WOW! Gel - Waterproof, according to Pentel, but the red did bleed a little.
  • Pentel HyperG 07 - Waterproof.
  • Pentel EnerGel 07 - Water resistant but the ink does start to fade quickly.
  • Pentel Oh! Gel 07 - Doesn’t look waterproof. The ink bleeds and writing starts to fade. 
  • Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38 - Waterproof.
  • Bic 537 0.7 - Not waterproof - writing fades quickly. I don’t know where the ink goes either because the water isn’t that purple!
  • Pentel Slicci 0.7 - Not waterproof... at all.
  • Pilot Hi-Tec C 0.4 - Looks waterproof in this case, but some color may bleed. 
Right

Based on some research, I have found people recommending a few different refills for Parker-compatible gel refills.

Waterproof gel refill recommendations:
Schneider Pen Gelion 1 Refills
Visconti AA38 - I think these are waterproof...anyone know?

Water resistant gel refill recommendations:
Cross Selectip Gel

Other:
Ballpoint - Schmidt® Refill P900

Gel ink pen recommendations:
Uni-ball Signo 207
Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38
Uni-ball Signo 207 Ultra Micro
Pilot Hi-Tec C

If you're purchasing a refill for a particular pen, I would suggest taking the old refill to the store and double checking the size, or make sure the refill states it fits that particular brand. If you are interested in any of the Monteverde refills from the right page, remember, I got them at Office Depot on an awesome clearance

Friday, January 27, 2012

Giveaway at Notebook Stories

Head over to Notebook Stories to enter a giveaway of notebooks from JetPens!

Ends tonight so hurry over here!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mailbox Goodies: Pen Pals

Ahh you know what's totally awesome about having pals who love writing letters? You get the most amazing things in the mail! This wonderful package came from Shangching at East...West...Everywhere. We met through our mutual love (... or unhealthy obsession...) for stationery and have been writing letters to one another, giving us the opportunity to use fun stationery and stickers, fantastic pens, and fabulous inks.

Do you send your pen pals parcels in the mail?

This is what we received today:
MyFile 3
Handwritten letter, four ink samples, a selection of stickers, and a handmade knitted scarf! How's that for an awesome penpal?!
MyFile 4
What's this?
MyFile 5
Oh. I bet I look gorgeous in this color.
MyFile 6
Making biscuits.
Thank you for the wonderful parcel Shangching! As you can see, Tyco is already enjoying it! I can't wait to wear my brand new scarf tomorrow evening!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: Pilot Precise BeGreen Liquid Ink Roller Ball Pen 0.5mm Blue

This is a review of the Pilot BeGreen Precise V5 Liquid Ink roller ball pen 0.5mm in blue. This pen was sent to me by Jose (@noyolajose) - thank you for yet another great pen!
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I was really excited to try this pen. I have been using the Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V5 for years and then later added a few of the Hi-Tecpoint V5 Grip to my arsenal. Years ago, I was not as environmentally conscious as I am now. Given that pens are my hedonistic treat, I know I can never move away completely from them so I try to be as green as I can.

The Pilot BeGreen Precise V5 is obviously part of Pilot’s BeGreen line and is made of 89.2% recycled content! That is an impressive amount of recycled material. The label is printed directly on the pen, like most of Pilot’s stuff, so there’s no sticker to peel off (nor is there any adhesive to attract cat fur).

This pen has a tapered barrel that is made of solid colored plastic. That is, it’s not clear plastic with a layer of color coating it. I like this because the color won’t chip off (which happens to my Hi-Tecpoint V5). The blue pen has a blue barrel - I love when I can easily identify the color of a pen without having to look for the tiny color indicator on the tip of the cap. 

The pen is fairly light, even when posted. The metal clip has a nice rounded tip that allows it to slide easily onto your papers. I really like the shape of this pen. It’s not weird or unusual, it’s just a simple, classic design. The “grip” section is just the barrel with ribs. It’s not soft or squishy but with how well the ink flows, you don’t need to grip the pen tightly to write smoothly. Plus it’s clear so I can monitor my ink level (one of my favorite things about writing).
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Now that my eco conscience is satisfied, how does this BeGreen pen perform? All in all, wonderfully. The pen writes very smoothly which is a result of both the roller ball tip and the smooth liquidy ink. The nib is a 0.5mm and is surprisingly smooth. It is considered an extra fine. It’s a sturdy little nib though and while I did not perform any abusive tests on it, I think it will survive the life of the refill just fine. In writing, this ink has never skipped and the ink almost hops off the nib onto the paper so you never have to press down on the nib to write - but this doesn’t mean it blobs! There’s no blobs! It just glides, producing consistent lines that are sharp and clean. My writing is easy to control and looks tidy and uniform. I love pens that allow me to write so neatly. Apparently this pen has a patented precise needle point technology. I’m actually not sure what that means, but it must be working because it’s not often you see a liquid ink pen without an ink regulator section where the ink trickles through.
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Furthermore, because of the ease of writing, the Pilot BeGreen Precise V5 will write on almost any paper. That’s awesome. It did not bleed and there was very little show through in my writing sample, which only makes me love it more!

My only complaint, as is often the thing I complain about - not enough colors. Currently, this pen is available in blue, black, and red. It writes so wonderfully that I think Pilot should add a few colors to this line. I may be in the minority though. I suppose most people are contented with the ones available right now.
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Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V5 Grip Green & Pink, Pilot BeGreen Precise V5 Blue, Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V5
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Other reviews for this pen of goodness:
The Pen Addict (old site)
OfficeSupplyGeek

Price
JetPens - $1.85
JetPens Refills - $2.00/two
Shoplet - $22.65/dozen (~$1.89/each but you can get quantity discounts!)

Overall
This is a great liquid ink pen. I’ve always been a fan of the older, non-recycled content model but am thrilled that Pilot has released a BeGreen version of it that is refillable! Double plus! It is pretty cheap, especially if you are using the refills. This pen performs really well and is easy to use for any and everything, and you can feel a wee bit less guilty about your pen-acquisition habit (don’t deny it, we all know you’re here because you’re an addict).

Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: Uni-ball Signo Scents Gel Ink Pens

This is a review of the Uni-ball Signo Scents gel ink pens.
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I won these yummy pens at a giveaway held by I Love Pens. Given that they sent it all the way from the UK (yes, it was a worldwide giveaway!), they took a little while to get here but I was eager to try them when they arrived - scented things are one of my associated addictions... I love smelly inks.
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Before I even tried them out, I wanted to point out something I love: all the packaging is recyclable. Yes, there is a lot of packaging. But it’s ALL recyclable! I am happy to see that Uni-ball put in some effort to make their packaging more earth-friendly. Next up: less packaging. 
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It weirds me out a bit that the writing on the cap and on the body don't match direction.
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On to the gems, shall we? 

The Uni-ball Signo Scents are stick pens with long, clear barrels, short caps, and plastic clips. The clips, end plugs, and the ink obviously indicate the color and hints at its scent. Green = mint. The caps post with a click on the back (something I love and is often a decent gauge of pen quality). The barrels are a good size - not too thin, not too thick - and a good length. As I mentioned, the caps are short, so when it’s posted, it hardly adds much to the length and they are really comfortable to hold, weight-wise. Not surprisingly - like almost every single Uni-ball I’ve ever used, they write wonderfully. 
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The ink is bold, vibrant and solid with great coverage, like all Uni-ball gel ink pens. I loved doodling with these because I didn't have to go back and fill in all the white bits left behind by sub-par coverage. The ink is so smooth and practically drips off the 0.8mm nib, but it didn't blob at all mid-writing. It just rolls off the nib. Because the ink is so wet, it takes awhile to dry (60 seconds), I was careful when I was writing/drawing but this doesn't bother me. The ink eventually dries matte and it looks really awesome. Even if these pens weren't scented, I would still buy them because they write so well.
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Because of the way the ink dries matte, if you put pressure on the backside of the written page, the ink can print onto the next page. Doesn't bleed though! I got this design idea from Sarah Brueck's Flickr! I made a few changes but her original was my inspiration (ok... I barely changed it. I was just trying to make a doodle that didn't look horrible).
But that’s not really why you’re here. You want to know about the scents. You probably could care less how they write. You have the warm memories of Mr. Sketch scented markers floating around in your nostrils. Ok I’m getting a little creepy here. 
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The scents and inks are as follows:
Fruity Pack
Strawberry Pink - Like candied strawberries. Gummy strawberries, I guess. Not very strong. 
Pineapple Yellow - Smells like pineapple-flavored fluoride from the dentist.. but worse. It burns my nose a little. 
Orangey Orange - Smells a bit like Vitamin C tablets. But not as mouthwatering. The color doesn't match the orange I thought it would be but that's okay. It's unique. 
Coconut Brown - Mild coconut but nice. Doesn't seem as inky as the other ones, and it seems a bit more glittery for some reason.
Blueberry Blue - Like sweet blueberries. I like it. And I love the color of this one. 

Sweety Pack
Cola Black - Very faint cola. I had to scribble and sniff the tip quite a bit to even get a whiff of this one. However, the black is gorgeous to write with. Gooey and shiny (like a beetle's shell...gross. Too far?). 
Bubblegum Pink - Smells more like banana medicine to me (which is a bit bubblegummy) - remember this stuff from when you were a kid? Amoxicillin!! 
Mint Green - Like minty floss. I'm tempted to taste it. Smells the most 'normal' of all the scents, I think.
Soda Blue - Smells more like blueberry than soda. What soda is blue?
Cherryade Red - Yummy. Like synthetic cherry but I like synthetic cherry... it's like red Mr. Sketch.

The scents linger on the page for quite awhile - days, as I am noticing. No complaints about that. I love sniffing ink anyway (whether it's technically scented or not...). I will admit, some of these seemed surprised me. Pineapple yellow? I kind of expect yellow things to smell like lemon. And the black should be licorice. No, no. That’s just me getting caught up in my warm nostril memories of Mr. Sketch markers. Uni-ball branched out a bit here and kudos should be given for trying out different scents. 

Sniff some other reviews

Price
JetPens - $2.00 each (for certain scents) - I can't find the other ones online in the US?!
Cult Pens£14.66 for all 

Overall
These seem a bit difficult to get in the US, but there is a limited selection at JetPens. Given the price, you'd have to really like scented pens because you can get the Signo UM-100 for $1.65 - virtually the same pen, no scent. However, I like to try out fun things and I really enjoyed writing and drawing with these so I would certainly get them again. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Review: Quo Vadis Small Blank Habana - Anise Green

This is a review of the small Quo Vadis Habana in anise green with blank paper.

IMG_0915 ResizedFeatures (from Quo Vadis):

- 85 g, ivory paper with satin smooth finish
- 80 sheets
- Acid-free and pH neutral for long preservation
- Firm leather-like cover
- Sewn binding for extra security and flexibility
- Inner pocket for notes and cards
- Elegant round corners
- Matching elastic closure
    Two sizes:
        4 x 6 3/3 (pocket)
        6 1/4 x 9 1/4 (large)

Rulings: Lined or Blank
Colors: Black, Anise Green, Red, Raspberry

Other than the paper, nothing about Habanas has changed. Habanas still have the semi-flexible leather-like covers like the last model, elegant rounded corners, an inner pocket, matching elastic enclosure, and a bookmark. They have a sewn binding that is flexible and allows the notebook to lay flat, and prevents any pages from falling out. The paper is still acid-free and pH neutral for archiving and documenting important things.
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I barely flattened the spine and it sat pretty flat. No complaints here.
I bought the smaller Habana to test because I was trying to save a few dollars, though I absolutely love the larger size. I really like the design of these notebooks. They are well constructed and nice to look at. All notebooks should be able to lay flat so in this regard, I think the Habana wins over the Webbie. I love that the elastic enclosure is securely tucked into the notebook, unlike my recent experience with the Piccadilly Essential Notebook.
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Bottom to top: Large Habana + 90g white paper, Small Habana + 85g ivory paper, A6 Rhodia Webbie
Remember when it was announced that the Quo Vadis Habanas would be changed from the delectable 90g bright white paper to the 85g ivory paper? I panicked and wanted to stock up on the bright white Habanas before they were forever lost to the world of ivory. I don’t dislike ivory paper, but the Rhodia Webbies already have ivory paper and I liked having variety. I don't really understand why they switched to ivory when the Webbie already holds the ivory paper market.

I tried to open this one up without any judgment against the paper, I swear. I was pretty sure going from 90g to 85g wouldn't make a big difference in the paper's performance. Sadly, I don't think the 85g ivory paper performs as well as the 90g white.
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Gel ink and liquid ink pens were easily tolerated by the paper. I felt a tiny bit more feedback from the paper when writing with gel and liquid ink pens and I don't think that's a bad thing. It offers a bit more control and feels less slippery, especially with pens that have slick ink like the Pentel Oh! gel pen. 
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It was pretty obvious to me that there was a lot more show through of inks on the ivory paper than there is on the white paper. I doubt this is a result of the 5g weight difference alone. I think the paper color may have something to do with it as well and both of these factors combined yield more show through. Fortunately, like its predecessor, I did not experience any bleed through in the ivory papered Habana so it's safe to say this notebook is still fountain pen friendly. And even though the ivory paper is satiny smooth, the white paper is so smooth that it's practically glossy. It gives stark contrast to any color of ink and makes them look outstanding. I miss that.
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Ink sampling with a Rohrer & Klingner glass dip pen. I removed excess ink from the nib. It writes like a M-B. Showthrough is obvious. Tiny bits of bleeding where I accidentally blobbed a giant blob of ink so I don't count that. That would result in bleeding through any paper. Bleed through on the left is from a Sakura IdentiPen (like a Sharpie).
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Bottom to top: Habana + 90g white paper, Habana + 85g ivory paper. Those are ink swabs on the white paper compared to scribbles from a glass dip pen on the ivory paper. The swabs show up even less than the scribbles do!
This isn’t enough a reason to make me dislike Habanas. I think they come in the perfect sizes, and they’re not too thick (so my ADD doesn’t kick in while halfway through the notebook, and then I still have another 100 pages to fill). It’s so well put together and fun to write in that I always want to have one with me. And the paper is still nice, it's just not as incredible as it used to be.

And you know what else I love? This company. Being green and ecoconscious is really important to me. I mentioned in my review of the older Habana that the bright white paper color was achieved using calcium carbonate, not chlorine, which can be pretty nasty on the environment. Plus, the journals are made in the USA, which means less transport costs and energy is used to get it to you! But it’s not just that, Quo Vadis goes above and beyond! You can read about their green practices, the paper's PEFC certification, and some more factory practices. This is impressive stuff.

I feel good supporting a company that is trying to be green. And, as if I needed another reason to love Quo Vadis, I recently discovered the Quo Vadis Forest. A portion of Habana sales in the U.S and Europe will go to building this forest of 100,000 trees in the Dosso Plantation in Niger. Check it out here. That is a classy move, Quo Vadis!
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How vile. Sorry for the terribly yellow picture. This was done with a Uni-ball Signo Scents in blueberry.
Any downsides to the Habanas?

Well, they are pretty pricy. And I’m pretty sure they just underwent a price increase for 2012. The small size is ~ $15.25 and the larger, ~$23.00. That’s quite a bit for 80 sheets of paper. I use mine only for special purposes and really nice pens and inks so I can get them to last, but if you try to use yours for everything... it’s gonna add up! That’s a bummer. It's still not enough to turn me away though. I just use mine carefully. And I do prefer the white paper.

Meander over to some other great reviews:
Ink Nouveau
BTI Books
Note Booker, Esq.

Price
Goulet Pens - $15.25
Writer’s Bloc - $14.25

Overall
Ever since I won my first Habana, I have loved these notebooks. It is a high quality notebook and although the 85 g paper switch is a downgrade, I'm pleased with the paper overall. And, despite the price increase, I still want to support this company. It makes me so happy that Quo Vadis is making so much effort to be ecologically kind. I know I’m paying a premium for this product because of all the practices behind it (plus the fact that it’s just awesome), but I can live with that. I want Quo Vadis to know they have customers who really appreciate their green practices.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Pelikan M1005 Demonstrator Fountain Pen - Fine

This is a (somewhat) review but mostly a blabfest of how much I am enjoying this Pelikan M1005 Demonstrator with a fine nib. I should warn you: there are a lot of pictures. In fact, this is mostly a pen porn post.
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Hello pretty girl.
This special edition fountain pen is the clear demonstrator version of the Pelikan M1000 Souverän series. The demonstrator shows off Pelikan’s patented differential piston mechanism, originating in 1929. It has been around for quite some time now and has remained a success to this day. Now you can watch (and feel) how very smooth this mechanism is when you are filling your pen with ink.

I knew going into this that I very well could be disappointed by the packaging. Sure enough, I was. I opened up the cardboard box it came in. It was certainly a prettied up version of a cardboard box - more solid, with a clear viewing window through the top, but it’s still just a cardboard box. I have a Graf Von Faber-Castell fountain pen that came in a really nice wooden box, which is what this pen should have come with, given how awesome it is (and its price). However, more importantly, Pelikan did not skimp on making this demonstrator awesome!
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Overall, I love the appearance of the M1005. It has no unnecessary elaborate pieces (such as extra curls or knobs on the clip), and it is well designed with a straightforward, classic shape that will appeal to most.

The barrel is indeed completely clear, achieved by an intensive process that ensures there are no color particles in the production, resulting in a gorgeous, clean, and color-free demonstrator. You can see all the pieces moving, ink levels, and even the little bubbles of air. This pen is a piece of art. Furthermore, it is a monster of a pen. I knew it was going to be big when I ordered it but when I actually got a hold of it and started writing, I was blown away by its size. It is without a doubt the largest pen and nib I’ve ever written with.

As for the piston mechanism - it’s not only cool to watch in action, but it also glides effortlessly. So far, it has not gotten stuck on me, and when I pushed some ink through, it didn’t stick then pop, giving me a giant blob of ink (like what happens with my Noodler’s Ahab, which I know is a completely different pen class, but still).
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Inked with J. Herbin Vert Olive
The whopper of a nib is hand crafted and is 18-karat gold and rhodium plated to give the pen an overall silver and transparent appearance that I think is very attractive. The clip and rings are palladium plated to match the nib. Being such a large and soft nib, it does write bigger and wetter than most fountain pens. I ordered a fine and it writes like the medium nibs found on my other pens. I was aware the nib had some semi-flexing properties so I wanted to go small so when it flexed, it wouldn’t put down lines that were too wide for writing letters and such. Writing with this soft nib is like writing with melting butter - no skipping, no blobbing. You can’t write too fast if you’re flexing because it will draw a lot of ink and you can’t move too quickly when the pen needs that much ink. Patience is key. It is drool-worthy and to die for.
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Inked with J. Herbin Vert Olive
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Nib comparison, top to bottom: Graf Von Faber-Castell Anello Titanium medium, Pelikan M1005 fine
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Nib comparison left to right: Graf Von Faber-Castell Anello Titanium medium, Pelikan M1005 fine
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Nib and body comparison: Pelikan M1005 fine (top), Noodler's Ahab Flex (bottom). Boy, that Ahab is actually pretty big!
Users who prefer nibs that give feedback and write tougher and harder probably won't like this nib. But remember, for a nib to be this creamy, buttery, and velvety smooth, the materials going into it have to be exceptional. It’s a quality product.
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In Leuchtturm 1917 medium notebook with dots (obviously)
In hand, at 34 g, it feels like a solid, heavy pen. The nib feels like it can easily handle a heavy hand. The weight tends towards the back because of the brass piston and when posted, it's even heavier back there. This didn't bother me, even with my average-sized female hands...I think they're average anyway. Everything comes together so well - the cap snugly threads closed, it posts smoothly and reassuringly, and nothing feels loose. Despite its solid feel, I am always cautious. I coddle my pens and try my very hardest to pay attention to what I’m doing with them so I don’t accidentally drop them.
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Top to bottom: Noodler's Ahab Flex, Pelikan M1005, Graf Von Faber-Castell Anello Titanium, Lamy Studio, Lamy Al-Star.
I also realized something that is not significant and I'm sure everyone else already knows this but... have you ever noticed that the clip, when facing you, is the face and bill of a pelican?! This is a genius product move, and one that makes me a sucker for Pelikans more than I am already.
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Do you see the pelican?!
Concerns?

I haven't tried any dark inks yet, but I wonder about inks that may stain. It would be a shame to have this beauty tainted with leftover ink so, unless you are a devoted and accomplished fountain pen cleaner, perhaps stick to lighter inks without iron gall properties! Despite this concern, I am madly in love with this pen and want to put all sorts of inks in it to gaze at.

While many have objected to the limited range of nibs available for this pen, it was not a problem for me because I knew I wanted a rhodium fine nib and not a BB/BBB or stub (which you really could get and replace yourself, it would just not be rhodium... unless you really wanted to pay for some custom work).

Why did I pick this pen?

Well, it’s quite simple. I had no demonstrators in my collection, and for me, once I laid eyes on this pen, I knew it was “the one”. I was taken by its elegant beauty and couldn’t stop picturing how saucy my inks would look in it! Plus, a big nib with semi-flex was too appealing. I love flex nibs.

This beauty is handmade in Germany and there’s only a few left out there so if you want one, don’t hesitate! If you can’t find the nib you want in the rhodium, you can always use the Pelikan M1000 two-tone nibs.

How is this pen improving my life?
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I know. I sound so dramatic. But I'm not kidding, this pen is improving my life. I look forward to having the time to sit at my table, pull out some Rhodia, and writing with tails and curls. I swear, this pen is infused with creativity and when I touch it, it diffuses into my fingers through a concentration gradient. Remember this from science? To achieve equilibrium, things will move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration? Well, I am the area of low concentration of creativity.

This pen makes me feel inspired to write and it's an absolute joy to write with. The whole experience puts a big, stupid grin on my face. I love holding it, watching the ink in it, shining lights through the ink in the barrel, and seeing what I can create on paper. And then pretending I am awesome.
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Pelican and baby! How cute is that?!
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Slow and steady wins the race!
Other (far better) tidbits to enjoy:
Sidestreaker via FPN
Leigh Reyes
Penandpaperco

Price
Nibs.com - $660.00
World Lux - $615.00
Isellpens.com - $600.00

Overall

This is the first Pelikan I've owned and tried, so please take my praise with a grain of salt. I know demonstrators are not everyone's favorite but remember I am also talking about the pen's performance here! I was able to acquire this pen for $550.00 and I'm really happy with it! It is indeed a costly pen... although by no means the most expensive fountain pen out there. It is a beautiful work of art in a simple and elegant way. It performs very well and given that I am partial to soft nibs because of their ability to flex a little, I am thrilled with the writing experience. Ultimately, as with all fountain pens, whether you are interested in this pen or not comes down to whether or not it is aesthetically appealing to you, and if you enjoy the writing experience. After all, that is what fountain pens are all about!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: Pentel Oh! Gel Ink Pen - Black

This is a review of the Pentel Oh! Gel ink 0.7mm pen in black. This pen was sent to me by Jose (@noyolajose). As always, thank you for sharing! I couldn't do half these reviews without your contributions!
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Features (From Pentel):
- Acid-free, archival quality gel ink creates clean medium lines
- 0.7mm tip produces crisp, medium lines
- Sleek barrel designs add appeal
- Soft, latex-free grip for extended writing comfort
- Crystal clear diamond designed top click
- Extra-large, metal clip is convenient for attaching to pockets and notebooks
- Conveniently refillable with Pentel KFR7 refills
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The barrel of this pen is pretty thick and has a cute faux diamond pattern on it along with a smooth rubber grip (that is latex free!). If you’re not sensitive to latex, it probably wouldn’t even cross your mind but imagine getting itchy every time you touch latex? The metal clip is quite large compared to most gel ink pen clips. It is wide and reasonably snug, although not outstanding in any way. The pen is comfortable to hold but I did experience a bit of hand fatigue after all my doodling (more on that in the ink section).

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Interesting: the ink dries noticeably matte.
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Can you see where I couldn't get full coverage?
How about that ink?

It’s acid-free and archival quality gel ink so you can store important documents for a good long time. It is very bold, intense black gel ink. The lines are indeed crisp and are of medium width.

Be aware that the ink is very slick and takes awhile to dry (and still remains smudgy for quite some time afterwards). If you rewrite over the lines, you will find you only have moderate coverage on paper. You will notice that tracing over lines will only “move” ink out of the way, leaving you with less coverage and some paper show through.

There is decent control of the pen if you have rough paper because it catches the ink for you. Because the ink is so wet, it can become slippery, particularly on smooth paper, so it can be tiring to write for a long time because you have to maintain a good grip on the pen.
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Any downsides?

As usual, it’s only available in blue, black, and red. I guess most people who use pens aren’t like me and want one pen in a million different colors. I’m often disappointed by the range of colors most pens are available in. (Not the Pilot Hi-Tec Cs though... wow. What a fantastic range of colors they have.)

I also don’t like the use of chrome in this pen. The clip looks painted in a cheap chrome color and the ring just above the grip says “Pentel Oh! Gel” but is also in chrome. Disappointing. It’s a functional, simple pen and could be more attractive, in my opinion, without the chrome.

I can’t imagine why they called this the Pentel “Oh!”. Like... "Oh! A Pentel!" Or... "Oh! This ink is solid". Or... "Oh. I don’t like this chrome color..."

Other reviews for your literary enjoyment:
The Pen Addict
Pocket Blonde

Price
Pentel - $1.39
Shoplet - $12.21/dozen ($1.02)

Overall
This pen won’t blow you away with its amazingness but given its price point and reliability, you will certainly be able to make use of it - for note taking but not doodling so much because of the coverage issue with the ink. Unless you want to move up a model into the EnerGel class of gel ink pens by Pentel (and moving up in price as well), the Pentel Oh! will serve most needs satisfactorily. It’s good for everyday use.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review: Uni-ball Vision Needle Liquid Ink Roller Ball Pen - Fine, Black

This is a review of the Uni-ball Vision Needle Liquid Ink Roller Ball Pen in fine, and black.
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This pen was sent to me by Jose (@noyolajose) - thank you for sharing your appreciation for pens with me!

I am obviously a fan of Uni-ball pens (hence all the reviews of Uni-ball - all of which I have loved). This pen, being of the Vision series, and given my excitement over the Uni-ball Vision Exact pen I reviewed a months ago, had some pretty high standards to live up to. In my opinion, it’s not as “pretty” as the Vision Exact (with it’s pretty blue body and dots and stuff). It is a light grey color on the cap and the end of the barrel. The label has some stripes in silver and I guess it’s okay. Anyway, clearly this pen is not designed to be a pretty little thing to appeal to colorphiles like myself.
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I do like that on the cap, it has little ridges where you can grip it to pull it off. The clip feels flimsy, and it stretches quite far and is not very snug. I also don’t like the shape of the clip. It’s angular and wide.
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It is a liquid ink pen as you can tell by the ink regulator section. I enjoy watching ink trickle through these though I dwell on it when it happens asymmetrically (which is always). Unfortunately there is no part of the barrel that is really that clear where you can see the ink levels easily so that brings it down a level for me. If you angle it just right in the light, you can see it. But that’s a lot of work and not always easy to do (without looking like a crazy person at least). There is no grip either but I do find in general, liquid ink pens do not require grip because they tend to flow quite smoothly.
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The ink is Uni-ball’s Super Ink that is waterproof, fade-proof, and as a result, helps prevent check fraud and document alteration. If you’re a Paranoid Patty (or Patrick), this can give you some piece of mind, especially if you’re mailing a personal check across the country. No one can intercept it and change it!

Of course, most importantly, how does the pen perform?

The nib is a 0.7mm nib and, like all Uni-ball nibs, it is tough. I have yet to damage a nib so it’s safe to say these will last the life of the pen. The ink is slow drying and smudgy, even after drying so I wouldn’t recommend this pen for quick work or left handed writers. I felt that the nib was a bit scratchy while I was writing in the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook and I could actually hear the scratching. It did not cause the ink to skip and the flow was always good but it wasn’t a great experience overall. There was a little bit of show through and a bit of bleeding where I had inked a lot - pretty typical of liquid ink pens.
Uni-ball Vision Needle Resized
You may have noticed, in my recent reviews, such as the SwingLine SmartTouch Stapler and SwingLine Premium Chisel Point Staples, my objections were there was no use of recycled plastic when there could have been. That complaint stands with many products. There could be recycled plastic incorporated into this pen but there is none. Even if it was only a small percentage, over time, it would add up. Every little bit helps! Plus, it’s not refillable.

On the bright side, my other complaint is always about the limited range of colors but at least this pen is available in black, blue, red, purple, green, orange, pink, and blue-black.

Lookatmelookatme!

The Pen Addict (old site)

Price

Shoplet - $18.77/dozen (with quantity discounts)
                 ~ $1.56 each

Overall

At approximately $1.56 each, this pen will do the job of being a go-to pen at your desk but it does not offer a very pleasant writing experience in the way that other Uni-ball products can. It is functional and aesthetically very tidy, but I’d have to say this pen does not live up to the standard I have for writing with the Uni-ball Vision line. I will be using mine for Zentangling though, because it's great for coloring!

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.gourmetpens.com.